My thanks and compliments to Vice Premier Wang and his colleagues. And I want to express appreciation for the meetings we had with President Hu, Premier Wen, Vice President Xi, and Vice Premier Li.
We have made significant progress on the economic front since early 2009. U.S. exports have almost doubled. The Chinese currency has appreciated significantly. China’s trade surplus has fallen substantially.
Our discussions here in Beijing focused on two broad areas:
Creating a more level playing field with expanding opportunities for trade and investment.
Implementing the next generation of China’s economic reforms.
Let me quickly review a few examples of the progress we have made.
China is taking a number of steps to improve the protection of intellectual property rights, trade secrets and trademarks. These steps include a national effort to increase enforcement and increase government purchases of legitimate computer software.
China has agreed to work with us to negotiate new rules to limit export subsidies.
China has agreed to expand opportunities for foreign securities firms in China and auto finance companies.
China is undertaking reforms of its tariffs and taxes on imported goods, which will expand consumption and imports.
China is considering reforms that will reduce the privileges currently enjoyed by its state-owned enterprises.
China is beginning a range of broader financial reforms, starting with those in Wenzhou, which are designed to create a more modern financial system in which the market rather than the state plays a central role in the allocation of investment.
And China has acted to move toward a more flexible exchange rate system in which the market plays a greater role. It is intervening less in exchange markets. China is also moving to liberalize controls on the international use of its currency and on capital movements into and out of the country.
These steps are significant and promising and, we believe, will lead to further appreciation in the exchange rate over time against the dollar and the other major currencies.
These broader economic reforms-- to the exchange rate system, the financial system, the state-owned enterprises, and the existing mix of taxes and tariffs,--are necessary to advance China’s objectives of rebalancing economic growth, encouraging consumption, and reducing reliance on exports.
We welcome these changes, as well as the recent increase in Chinese business investment in the United States, the closer integration of our two economies, the greater role assumed by China in the IMF, the World Bank, and other international institutions.
These important steps do not resolve all of our concerns, or China's, but they do represent progress that translates into greater opportunities for U.S. workers and companies.
In 2009, at the outset of our first S&ED, President Obama said: "I have no illusion that the United States and China will agree on every issue, nor see the world the same way...but that only makes dialogue more important--so that we can know each other better, and communicate our concerns with candor."
President Obama and President Hu have made a very substantial and important investment over these past three years in strengthening our economic relationship and our cooperation on global economic issues.
The specific areas of progress I have just reviewed are the result of that investment. They reflect our commitment to continue to work closely with China.
Mr. Vice Premier, Secretary Clinton today held the third round of Consultation on People to People Exchange with State Councilor Liu.
I was a beneficiary of a similar initiative 30 years ago, when I came to Beijing to study China and the Mandarin language.
As I was able to do then, those of us responsible for this important economic and strategic relationship have worked hard to better understand the interests and the intentions of our two nations and to better understand the challenges we face in our own countries.
We have our differences and we each face different challenges, but we are committed to building a strong relationship that can allow us to continue to make progress on those challenges.